Skip to content

A tale of Marketing and Video Games

by Jorge Jaimes

It’s late Friday, Joe and his family have just arrived at home; everyone enjoyed one of those 3D movies and had a delicious dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant in the mall. Even though it’s kind of late, nobody is tired enough to go to bed, so, before too long, all of them make their way to their keyboards.

Joe makes a quick trip to the kitchen, just to heat up a big cup of coffee, gives it a sip, adds a bit of sugar, makes his way to his laptop; sits back and relaxes in front of the bright thin screen to check his emails.

“Joe!” calls his wife in a singsong voice, “Have you heard about this poor little girl Amy Bruce that needs one million emails…?”

“It is SPAM.” Joe interrupts her using the same singsong tune.

It has just passed less than a minute when she asks again, “And what about the 15,000 dollars that the IRS will refund us…” again she gets interrupted by Joe’s answer, “That’s another one”, again he says with the same singsong voice.

Within the next 30 minutes or so questions about Bill Gates giving away big money just for forwarding an email to all your contacts, a notice about the worst virus in the history that supposedly reported by CNN on the news, and a guy from Zimbabwe that is looking for the heir/heiress of a 75 million dollars fortune… “Spam”, “Spam”, “Spam”, it’s almost always the automatic response from Joe.

Suddenly, it seems that Joe’s wife is not asking questions anymore; but there is some kind of unusual behavior in her. She’s not reading anymore. Joe becomes aware of this because she’s stuck on her monitor like he’s never seen her before; biting her lips, her eyes bounce at some sort of pace following –something- on the her computer screen, as her left hands fingers franticly jump on the spacebar, while her right hand seems to be dancing quickly clicking the mouse buttons; … could it be? … Yes she’s playing a video game!

“What are you doing?” Joe snaps, as if he’s not suspecting anything.

“Remember that printer that we bought my mother for her birthday?” she asks without blinking, completely focused on her monitor.

“Yes.” he responds immediately, “The one that -prints gorgeous pictures with vivid colors at an amazing speed-” Joes says mimicking the clerk’s voice from the computer store.

“Well, they sent Mom an email invitation to play –Ink Invaders-…” she says while she raises her left eyebrow, making this special face that she makes when she feels she did the right thing, “and she sent me also an email invitation to play the game”

“And…?” Joe asks like he knows there is more coming.

“And now we are trying to beat Mike’s high score!” she finally says with a touché expression.

“Mike?!” Asked Joe in disbelieve, “the – I’m very busy right now – Mike?!”

“Yep, the same himself!” she responses at the same time that Joe jumps out from his laptop and goes directly to her wife’s monitor.

In many cases video games become an excellent piece of marketing; creating powerful messages that are very welcomed by thousands of users. Users that will act as your invisible partner; helping not just to grow your clients databases by inviting others to play the game, but also creating top of mind product awareness.

To create this kind of e-marketing campaign requires a good understanding of the target, product, technologies and trends in social media and video gaming. Not all video games suits well for all audiences; and in a similar way not all products fit in the same way inside a Sponsored Video Game or as an active element in the form of product placement.

Prior to introduce a Video Game inside your next marketing campaign, here are some tips that you may find useful to get the user’s full attention:

– Bullet-proof GDD (Game Design Document):
A GDD is a document with a detailed description of what you want -and need- for a video game. Concept art, description and functionality of the game-play, user interface, specifications for branding and/or product placement, sound FX, and graphic look and feel are just some of the aspects that should be included in this document.

– Casual vs Hardcore gamers:
Identify if you are aiming casual gamers or hardcore gamers. If you are doubtful  you are probably aiming casual gamers. This means that your game must be easy to learn and play; a master piece of usability that engages the users to play it since the very first minute they know about your video game.

– Viral factor:
An email and/or a Newsletter campaign will help you promote your video game, but the must powerful promotion that you will get are the users’ word of mouth and referrals invitations; providing email addresses from friends, family and colleagues. At the end, this is what you are looking for; priceless first handed pieces of information to expand your databases.

– Replay Value:
Try to think in to a game-play that asks always for more. If your game couldn’t engage the users to play it more than twice; then rethink on your game idea until you get one that can have the users playing it again and again and again…

– Unlockables and Hidden Items:
Include some “extras” on your videogame, such as additional levels and/or hidden characters that can be reached by simply playing the game several times. Make sure that the users know there is more content waiting to be discovered.

– Social Medialize it:
Encourage the users to share their achievements on the videogame. You may reward them by adding extra points to their scores every time they share their gaming activities on Facebook and/or Twiter.

Our experts at Quaxar, have the know-how to design and develop an excellent well crafted solution for your emarketing requirements, that could also include a digital interactive application that will get your clients fingers jumping and dancing on their keyboards and mouse buttons, all while inviting their friends, family and colleagues to do the same. A tale of Marketing and Video Games